The Best New Year’s Eve in England

with Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Ringo Starr and Joe Walsh

As a professional rock musician for the last thirty years, I have had many opportunities to experience the New Year’s Eve in many countries around the world. This particular New Year, however, I was in England and spent probably the best time ever. No, it wasn’t with the thousands crowded along the River Thames to watch the firework display and queue up for hours to see London from the London Eye and it wasn’t at some ‘posh do’ that would set me back a month’s wages. It took place in a small leisure centre just outside a small village somewhere not far from London, cost me less than £50 and not a drop of alcohol was available to drink.
‘The best?’ I hear you say but this sounds really boring… Oh no, my friend, this is the third time I have attended this event and each time is a magical experience and I can’t imagine that it could get better but each year it does, and this year was the New Year of all New Years! So what was it that has caused me so much excitement? Maybe you are thinking I have experienced some kind of religious revelation, perhaps I saw a star hovering over this small venue in this small obscure English village?

Well, in one way you would be right! But not one star – there were many. And these stars were not celestial bodies but real human ones! One was called Eric, another Gary, there was Pete and Joe, Andy and Richard. Let me share my story with you.
Every year I am lucky enough to get hold of tickets to this private function that is organised by some of these above named to raise money for a particular charity close to their heart. Because the venue is small, the tickets are limited to as many people you can comfortably get into a large sports hall without contravening Health and Safety Regulations. The hall is laid out with decorated tables around the edge of a large dance floor and towards one end , a large stage is constructed at one end which professional sound and stage technicians have set up to give an impressive Wembley Arena output with the intimacy of a village hall.

On this stage, every year a special band plays live for more than three hours and it is this band that makes the celebration so magical. As a band, it is completely unknown and you will never find reference to it wherever you search in the musical media. Each year the band takes a different name and this year it was called the ‘Complete Abandon’ Band and not Totally Abandoned as many mention on the web. Its leader, for one night only, is probably one of the best rock and blues guitarist England has had and is known worldwide. Some songs that you will all know from this guy are Layla, I Shot the Sheriff, Lay Down Sally….now perhaps you can see why I am so excited….yes, it’s Eric Clapton!

Now Eric Clapton by himself would be pretty mind-blowing. But put him together with Gary Brooker and from Procol Harum and Henry Spinetti who played their hit Whiter Shade of Pale, Andy Fairweather Low originally from the 1960s British band Amen Corner and still going strong touring with some of the best musicians of the 60s and 70s, and to this mix Joe Walsh from the US band, The Eagles, stir in Pete Townshend from the Who and sprinkle liberally with Ringo Starr from The Beatles and …… blown away!!!! A jamming session pare excellence!

As a professional musician myself, having spent 30 years of my adult life earning my living in this precarious profession, to see ‘The Big Boys’ like this and to be able to get so close to them was beyond any dream I could have had. Top this though! My wife’s friend and her family are the warm up band and this friend’s husband kindly took me backstage where I could have a clear and private view of Ringo drumming whilst singing ‘Boys’.

Later I sidled in there again and this time was met by an extremely friendly Pete Townshend who shook my hand and wished me a Happy New Year.
So that was it….my New Year celebration….breathing the same oxygen as my heroes. A big thanks to everyone who made this event something I will take to my grave. Not just to the Boys but to all the staff who made the night such a resounding success. Can’t wait for New Year 2009!!
Happy New Year everyone.

The Last live show of New Year’s eve in Clapton’s hometown 2012

And, in Ringo’s words: ‘Peace, Man’

Here are some of my favourite songs from those Great Guys.

Ringo Star(Beatles) with a little help from friends…(too many on the stage)

Ringo star

Eric Clapton (Yardbirds and the Cream) : Sunshine of your love

Eric Clapton

Pete Townsend (The Who) My Generation

Pete Townsend

Joe Walsh (The Eagles) (Take it Easy)

Joe Walsh

Finaly I want to add that the Support band was Great and the last song of the night was Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny be Good’

Anonymous Mike S said…
Good un ya mate! Did you see Pete
Townshend’s girlfriend?

What songs did they play?

JANUARY 01, 2008
Anonymous 2 Doors Down said…
Nicht schlecht!
Weisst Du noch Sylvester 2005 ;D

JANUARY 03, 2008
Anonymous rough mix said…
Il n’est nul besoin de vous dire que je vous envie..comme beaucoup de monde je pense.
Respirer le meme air que ces héros,quel belle entrée en matiere pour 2008
Hat off..

JANUARY 04, 2008
Anonymous Anonymous said…
I was there too. Was an amazing night. Spent sometime backstage…. we may have met. What a small world lol.

JANUARY 04, 2008
Anonymous Anonymous said…
I was there too it was brill. Please don’t give away too many details as it’s a special and unique event.

JANUARY 04, 2008